‘Ori and the Blind Forest’ debuts for PC

Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios is a canvas of colors that are in constant motion, where the animation is breathtaking and the story forces the player to think about the true definition of friendship and family.

Ori and the Blind Forest starts out in a storm that buffers the grand, life-sustaining Spirit Tree and a magical leaf is blown away into the forest that the Sprit Tree looks over.

The leaf turns out to be a cat-like creature by the name of Ori. Ori is found and taken in by the big and fluffy Naru, who raises Ori as her own. The two live a happy and joyful night until one night the Spirit Tree is corrupted by an unknown presence which leaves the forest “blind” and in a state of decay.

In the state that the forest is in, food becomes hard to find for both Naru and Ori to survive on their own. Naru has always put Ori first ahead of herself, and gives Ori the last piece of fruit she finds before passing away in her home and leaves Ori to fend for himself in the Blind Forest. With everything Ori cares about at stake, he meets the spirit Sein and sets off to restore the Spirit Tree to its healthy state and save the magical forest.

The game’s calming and refreshing music of piano, winds and strings help relieve that stress of Ori and brings players back into a relaxed space. The music and atmosphere will keep the player in a peaceful state. The music in this game is none other ever heard in any other game.

Ori and the Blind Forest is mainly classified as a metroidvania game, a genre of 2D platforming action games where the abilities are picked up through progression of the game and regression to past areas is strongly encouraged.

Ori can be compared to the game Metroid in a sense: with complex, intricate network of passages, each containing hidden areas, challenging platforming puzzles, and harmful projectile-spewing enemies. Ori captivates you to explore the entire map early on in the game but this can be found as a minor flaw in the game where such openness lead to pointless excursions to areas the player is not supposed to be at yet.

Ori’s abilities in this game are amazing as progression made the character more powerful and able to reach new heights not previously reached. The basic attack is a simple barrage of homing projectile-like powers, which can be made faster and stronger through the game’s ability tree.

It is a disappointment that players are unable to discover different types of projectiles from Ori beside the basic attack but without a true aim system in the game, Ori can focus on fun abilities such as double jumping, wall jumping, smashing into the ground, climbing, floating, swimming and dashing.

The dash move in the game is by far the most superb ability compared to everything else Ori can do. The ability is triggered near an enemy or projectile and there is a moment to point an arrow in any direction. Ori is flung in the direction of the arrow and whatever object or projectile was being dashed through will shoot towards the opposite direction. It can be used to fling enemies aside, move them towards their death, shoot their own projectiles back at them and can be used to travel through the open air.

In the late stages of the game, you are able to chain dashes with wall-jumps, double jumps, triple jumps and past one-shot killer lasers and explosive projectiles. It will make you feel invincible, even though many of those attempts will most possibly come with a multitude of deaths.

The places where one would die the most were in Ori’s boss fights, which actually was not considered a “boss fight” in itself. These sections of the game have players moving through platforms and enemies on a non-stop motion or dying in a miserable attempt. In this trial-and-error design, death was an opportunity to concentrate and focus on what errors you might have made in order to learn the minimum necessary requirements to overcome the challenge Ori chooses.

High performance rates in the game feel amazing because this is not an easy game. Ori does not guide players by the hands and does not spoon feed the solutions to all the problems. It’s about precision and reflexes. Even the simplest interaction with a defeat of common enemies involves second-to-second decisions beyond just “shoot the monster.”

The difficulty in Ori is further enhanced by the utilization of quick-saves as a resource. Ori is able to use his limited pool of energy to make save points in the Blind Forest and over time more and more energy can be earned, which means saves can come more often. The same energy pool used for saving is also offensively used for charged attacks to open up paths and destroy harder enemies. Planning and conservations come into big play here. This can all be tracked though the simplistic HUD (heads up display) which shows ability level progress, energy orbs and health. The design is well made and does not get in the way of the overall gameplay.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a rare indie gem full of fantastic designs and outstanding production values. Characters in the game each stand out and leave a memorable impact to the player. The music and art style of the game is of magnificent value.

With the eight hours put toward this game, coming back to Ori very soon will be great once the now released DLC (downloadable content) for Xbox One, released last week on March 11, comes out for PC.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a spectacular game that everyone should experience and hope they receive the same feelings as many others have towards this game.

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